“Unity is strength when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” –Mattie Stepanek
When the governor of Iloilo and the Iloilo City mayor sit at one table address the public, there must be something urgent and important. With Governor Arthur Defensor, Jr. and Mayor Geronimo Jerry P. Treñas both issuing executive orders regulating entry into their respective jurisdictions, it was a rare show of unity, which will make a big impact on the fight against the coronavirus disease.
The orders stated: “Returning residents of the province and city of Iloilo, provided that they shall have only until March 17, 2020 to enter the province. Persons traveling into the province on common carriers and/or transport for the conduct of trade, delivery of social/humanitarian services, fishing/ marine activities, scientific and academic pursuit and such other essential purposes, other than the carriage of passengers, shall be dealt with pursuant to Republic Act. No. 1132 and Republic Act No. 9271, and such other applicable laws and regulations. Persons who enter the province in violation of the above restriction shall be placed under quarantine for 14 days pursuant to the COVID-19 decision tool as of March 13, 2020. The essential entry of persons into the city shall be defined exclusively and shall include only health care workers, authorized government officials, those traveling for medical and humanitarian reasons, persons providing basic services and public utilities, and essential skeletal workforce. Appropriate administrative and/or criminal charges or both shall be filed against those person/s who shall break the protocol and violate the EO, thereby endangering the lives of inhabitants of Iloilo City.”
In addition, according to the order, individuals from Iloilo, Capiz, Antique, Aklan, Guimaras, along with returning Iloilo City residents who have been tested, cleared, and declared “Covid-19 negative” by accredited health authorities will be allowed to enter the city.
“Considering the seriousness of the developing Covid-19 public health event, there is a need to raise the level of quarantine procedures and disease prevention and control measures,” the governor added.
* * *
The Western Visayas lost another eminent pillar of journalism after Sanny Rico succumbed to multiple strokes last week in Iloilo City. Rico was an anchor for the now-defunct DYPL in the 1970s but, according to former Bombo Radyo Iloilo anchor Jerome Varon, he was already a household name the decade prior.
“When the station was sequestered by the government during Martial Law, he worked in the government and took the role as mentor of budding broadcasters, myself included,” he recalled. The broadcast icon of the 1980s and 1990s credits Rico for his own success.
Rico was from a family of leaders and public servants, and was an active Western Visayas Daily Times columnist in the 1980s and 1990. Incisive and witty, he loved to write about the Philippine National Police and was the darling of Regional Command-6 (now, Police Regional Office-6).
Due to his closeness with previous regional police directors, young reporters would tease him, referring to him as ‘SPO10 Sanny Rico,’ which he responded with a smile; and when Western Visayas police officers came under fire, they would find solace with Rico.
He also wrote about politics with panache and some of his admirers included former Iloilo City Mayor Rodolfo Ganzon and former Bacolod Assemblyman Wilson Gamboa, Sr., all towering political figures of the Martial Law era.
If you were an avid newspaper reader before the 1986 EDSA Revolution and the years Corazon Aquino’s “Kamaganak Inc.” burglarized the nation’s wealth with impunity, you would be familiar with his razor-laced admonishment of the numbskulls.
After retiring his column in the late 1990s, along with his death, it has left a voice in local journalism, where decency, professionalism, and integrity are prominently etched.
* * *
Alex P. Vidal, who is based in New York City, used to be the editor for two local dailies in Iloilo./WDJ